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Historical Newsletter

November/December 2000


The Nebraska State Historical Society's 122nd annual meeting was held October 28 in Lincoln. The Society presented several awards during the conference.

The Nebraska Preservation Award for significant achievements in historic preservation went to Todd Heistand and Tammy Barrett, owners of NuStyle Development Corporation from Omaha, for their contributions to housing and revitalization efforts in the city of Omaha.

Dr. Francis Moul of Chadron was selected to receive the James L. Sellers Memorial Award, given annually for the article judged best in the preceding year's volume of Nebraska History quarterly. His article, "The Biggest Partner: The Federal Government and Sioux County Nebraska," appeared in the Winter 1999 issue. An independent panel of scholars from Peru State College made the selection.

The Addison E. Sheldon Memorial Award for outstanding contributions to the preservation and interpretation of Nebraska history went to the Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer, Grand Island. The selection was made based on the Stuhr's long-term goal of interpreting not only the history of Grand Island, Hall County, and central Nebraska, but also the history of pioneer town builders who created communities across Nebraska.

Gladys Marie Lux of Lincoln received the Robert W. Furnas Memorial Award for outstanding contributions to the Nebraska State Historical Society. She established an endowment in memory of Mary Hannah Hansen Lux and Clarence Burton Lux, which allowed the Nebraska State Historical Society to purchase important items for both the Museum and the Library/Archives collections.


The Nebraska State Historical Society has been awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Division of Preservation and Access, to plan and host a Native American Preservation Meeting at the Ford Conservation Center in Omaha.

The purpose of the gathering will be to provide an opportunity for the representatives of the tribes to express and discuss their needs for the preservation of their material culture and heritage, evaluate potential solutions, and map strategies that will help sovereign tribes preserve and protect objects, documents, and traditions. Members representing twelve Native American intertribal regions of the continental United States will join with professionals from a variety of governmental and private sector agencies, whose missions involve supporting the preservation of cultural resources. The meeting will result in a report identifying the highest priority needs.

Red Willow Institute, a Native American-operated, nonprofit, Omaha-based organization, will coordinate the meeting, which could occur as early as November 2000. For more information contact: Julie A. Reilly, The Gerald R. Ford Conservation Center, 1326 South Thirty-second St., Omaha, NE 68501; phone: 402-595-1180; fax: 402-595-1178; e-mail: grfcc@radiks.net


The Nebraska State Historical Society was selected as one of fifty-one recipients of a National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services from a field of over two hundred applicants nationwide. The award of $254,161 will fund American Bounty: The Story of Food.

This project will focus primarily on the period between World Wars I and II, and wed the archival collections of the Society with the telecommunications power of Nebraska Public Telecommunications. It will digitize and deliver electronically materials held by the Society's Library/Archives Division that represent the widest possible variety of document types and formats. Along with familiar formats such as photographs, family papers, business records, government records, and published periodicals and maps, this project will also include more unusual resources such as oral history recordings and moving images.

This project will employ researchers, catalogers, transcribers, and editors to work with Society staff to choose from the variety of available materials those which most effectively and eloquently speak to the project's themes. Once generated, these materials will be incorporated into a sophisticated interactive website targeted to meet the pedagogical needs of the classroom and the individual curiosity of lifelong learners.


Spans in Time: A History of Nebraska Bridges, coproduced by the Nebraska State Historical Society and the Nebraska Department of Roads, was the recipient of an honor award at the 2000 Nebraska Center for the Book awards program. The book was one of five recognized at the Nebraska Center for the Book annual literature festival, held September 15-17 in Lincoln. The Nebraska Center for the Book, an affiliate of the Library of Congress, brings together the state's readers, writers, booksellers, librarians, publishers, printers, educators, and scholars. The Nebraska Library Commission announced the award.

The Nebraska Book Awards program recognizes and honors books written by Nebraska authors, published by Nebraska publishers, and/or set in or related to this state. Spans in Time was recognized in the nonfiction category. The book resulted from a statewide survey of historic bridges and was produced by a committee of Historical Society and Department of Roads staff. The book design was provided by NSHS, and the Department of Roads funded the publication under the transportation enhancement program authorized by the Federal Highway Administration. The publication was distributed free to all public libraries in the state. Winning books were displayed at the Nebraska Literature Festival, and copies were presented to Governor Mike Johanns to be included in the permanent collection at the Governor's Mansion.
A limited number of books are available from the Society's Museum Store at $21.95 each. Please include $4.00 shipping and handling plus local sales tax. Copies may be reserved by calling 1-800-833-6747.


The story of the Cheyenne Outbreak Barracks at Fort Robinson is vital to the greater story of the American West. There at Fort Robinson in 1879 a group of Cheyenne Indians, led by Dull Knife, attempted to escape their imprisonment to return to life in their traditional homelands.

drawing of the Cheyenne Outbreak Barracks

Now with an appropriation from the Nebraska Legislature of $150,000, the Nebraska State Historical Society seeks to reconstruct the barracks, providing a solid, physical presence to help us imagine and understand the history of which the barracks was so much a part. However, these funds will come only if the Society and the Society Foundation can secure a matching $150,000 in private funding by June 30, 2001.

With a gift of $500 or more, donors will receive an original watercolor print of the Cheyenne Barracks by Nebraska architect and artist Robert Hanna. The beautiful, historically accurate rendering (signed by the artist) is eighteen by twenty-four inches and is printed in full color on the finest quality watercolor paper, matted to museum standards, and ready for framing. This limited edition work was commissioned specifically for this project by the Society and the Society Foundation.

Gifts for the Cheyenne Barracks reconstruction will be received by the Nebraska State Historical Society Foundation, a 501(c)3 charitable organization. Contributions are tax deductible in accordance with IRS regulations. For more information contact Jac Spahn, NSHS Foundation, 402 Lincoln Center Building, 215 South Centennial Mall, Lincoln, NE 68508-1813; phone 402-435-3535.


Looking for that special holiday gift that keeps on giving all year long? How about a membership in the Nebraska State Historical Society? Recipients of this gift will receive Nebraska History, a quarterly magazine devoted to the story of Nebraska's past; bimonthly newsletters; information about upcoming events; and discounts on publications and items purchased at Society museum stores.

The cost for an annual membership is only $30. Other membership categories are also available. Membership makes a great gift and helps the Society fulfill its mission of safeguarding and interpreting the past.

For further information about giving a gift of history, contact the Society at 1-800-833-6747 or 471-6548 and ask for Jennifer Little.


Don Cunningham joined the staff of the Research and Publications Division as senior research historian/associate editor on October 2. Formerly with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, he was editor of NEBRASKAland magazine for ten years. On October 23 Stacy Stupka-Burda started with the State Historic Preservation Office as National Register of Historic Places coordinator. Stacy, a trained archeologist, came to the SHPO from the contracting office of the UN-L Department of Anthropology. Terri Raburn and Matt Piersol have assumed the duties of reference assistants in the Library/Archives Division.



The Nebraska State Historical Society has recently acquired a set of six William Jennings Bryan campaign "transparencies" for its permanent museum collection. The transparencies are constructed of a light wood frame onto which a cloth cover has been stretched and then tacked. The cloth cover for each transparency displays a printed political slogan. The transparencies were illuminated with two- or three-burner torchlights. The transparencies, previously on loan to the Society since 1996, were purchased from the Osceola Masonic Lodge No. 65.

During the 1900 presidential election campaign, Bryan stopped in Osceola, and it is believed these transparencies were used during Bryan's parade through town. The transparencies were presumably stored in the attic of the A. P. Mickey Hardware Store shortly after the Bryan visit. The store later served as a Masonic Lodge building. The transparencies remained hidden in the attic until 1984, when they were discovered and the members of the Osceola Masonic Lodge placed them in the basement.

In the mid-1990s lodge member Dave Watts visited the Museum of Nebraska History and informed museum staff members of the existence of the transparencies and inquired if they might be of use to the Society. Coincidentally, the museum had just opened its new William Jennings Bryan exhibit. The artifacts were promptly added to the exhibit and displayed until the exhibit was dismantled.


Do you know what your grandma's favorite toy was? Where your grandpa liked to go for fun? To find out, attend a new workshop for children, ages eight through twelve, and their grandparents (or other special elders). In this "School's Out" workshop, January 16-19, 2001, participants will explore life in the 1940s and 1950s. Each day grandparents will be invited to bring objects and photos and share their stories of growing up. Games, activities, and stories will help us to understand the "big picture" of life then, and participants will document their discoveries in family story books. For workshop times, fees, scholarships, and registration, call 1-800-833-6747 or 471-4757.


The Nebraska Humanities Council has awarded the Nebraska State Historical Society a planning grant for educational traveling trunks. The trunks will be associated with Building the State: Nebraska, 1867-1940, the next permanent exhibit of the Museum of Nebraska History, scheduled to open in early 2002. Traveling trunks will deliver primary sources (objects, photos, documents, oral histories) and activities to communities and classrooms statewide. In these trunks, Nebraskans will find many opportunities to investigate, discuss, and share the history and culture of their local communities and of Nebraska from 1867 through 1940. Trunk planning will involve teachers and media specialists, community leaders, and cultural historians. In meeting with these individuals, we will gather recommendations for the best stories, resources, activities, and perspectives to include in the trunks.


The Museum of Nebraska History will again be wearing its holiday finery from November 24 through December 29. Two vintage sleighs, a 1950s aluminum tree lit by a revolving color wheel, and animated figures of Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus will greet visitors on the museum's first floor. The Carson Parlor will depict an 1860s Nebraska Territorial Christmas, complete with tabletop tree, toys, and gifts. The World War II living room and general store and the Halligan Dollhouse will also feature seasonal decorations. A tree with a quilt theme will accompany the special exhibit Patchwork and Progress. Museum hours are Monday-Friday, 9-4:30; Saturday, 9-5; Sunday, 1:30-5.


The Thomas P. Kennard House, a Society Historic Site at 1627 H in Lincoln, will celebrate Victorian Holidays Past, featuring Victorian toys, decorations, and historic photographs, Saturday, November 25, through Saturday, December 30. The house will be open 9-12 and 1-4:30, Tuesday-Saturday. There will also be an open house on Sunday, December 10, 1-5, with free admission. Also that afternoon Eastlake Manor, 720 South Sixteenth, and the Atwood House, 740 South Seventeenth, all in the same neighborhood, will be decorated for the holidays. Visitors will be welcome from 1 to 5 with no admission charged.

For additional information on the holiday event and tours at the Kennard House call 402-471-4764. The Eastlake Manor's telephone number is 402-477-3610. The number for the Atwood House is 402-438-4567.



The Gerald R. Ford Conservation Center in Omaha hosted a workshop on recent advances in the conservation of silver objects August 21-25. Twenty people from Canada, France, and the United States attended. The participants were experienced, practicing objects conservators and research scientists who work with silver collections.

The workshop offered an exciting opportunity for professionals from differing backgrounds to share, compare, and refine their experience and knowledge of the chemistry, deterioration, restoration, and conservation of silver. Following the workshop, a public reception and lecture were held at Joslyn Art Museum. The workshop was funded by the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training, National Park Service.

Debbie Long, objects conservator at the Ford Center, with Wes Sorenson and Patricia Leavengood at the silver conservation workshop.



Two and one-half years ago, the Nebraska State Historical Society became the recipient of an award from the Library of Congress and Ameritech to digitize two of its prize collections and add them to the prestigious American Memory website. After many months of work, the Solomon D. Butcher photograph collection and the stirring letters of the Uriah Oblinger family are finally available for viewing. Discover firsthand the experience of settlement on the Great Plains via a link from the NSHS website, www.nebraskahistory.org, or go directly to http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/award98/nbhihtml/pshome.html

By Cindy S. Drake, Library Curator

Anton and Alzbeta (Kolar) Kuska Family History, compiled by Carmelle P. Tuma. (Czech-American Families in Fillmore and Greeley Counties.)

The Book of Irish Families: Great & Small, by Michael C. O'Laughlin.

Caudebec in America: A Record of the Descendants of Jacques Caudebec, 1700 to 1920, [compiled] by William L. Cuddeback. (Family in York County.)

The Czech Family, Kuska: Favorite Recipes, by R. Kuska. (Includes information about family in Fillmore County.)

Lancaster County Probate Records, 1884-1897, [edited by Ellen DeVries] and published by the Lincoln-Lancaster County Genealogical Society.

Luchsinger and Schmoll Family and Ancestors: The Frank Luchsinger Jr. and Melinda Elisabeth Schmoll Families and Descendants in Platte and Colfax Counties in Nebraska and Ancestors in Pennsylvania, Missouri, and Germany, [prepared by Virginia M. Bannister].

Meyer and Westmeier Family and Ancestors: Peter Henry Louis Meyer and Maria Elisabeth Westmeier Families and Descendants in Platte, Douglas, Lancaster, and Cass Counties in Nebraska and Ancestors in Germany, [prepared by Virginia M. Bannister].

The Millennium Edition of the Ringo Family History Series, produced by David L. Ringo. (Families in Merrick, Lancaster, Thomas, Sarpy, Douglas, and Morrill Counties.)

Preston and Thacker Family and Ancestors: The Elmont Fletcher Preston and Myrtle Florence Thacker Families and Descendants in Cass, Saline, and Dawson Counties in Nebraska . . . , [prepared by Virginia M. Bannister].


Gary Wolfe, comp., Nebraska Auto Race History: Dawson County Speedway, v. 1 of the Collector's Edition (Lexington, Nebr.: Nebraska Vintage Race Association, 2000). Paperbound, 99 pp., black and white illustrations, cost $20 (postage and tax included). Order from Gary Wolfe, RR 1, Box 116, Bertrand, NE 68927. Persons with information and/or photos of early Nebraska auto racing are invited to contact Wolfe.

James E. Ducey, Birds of the Untamed West: The History of Birdlife in Nebraska, 1750 to 1875 (Omaha: Making History, 2000). Paperbound, 311 pp., illustrations, cost $25 (plus $3 shipping and applicable sales tax). The book illustrates the role of birds in Native American culture, includes Native American bird names, and utilizes journals of early explorers. Order from Making History at 402-551-0747, 2415 N. Fifty-sixth St., Omaha, NE 68104, or www.makinghistoryusa.com.

Western Emigrant Trails Research Center, Western Emigrant Trails Map 1820-1870, 1999 edition, 22 1/2 by 33 inches. The map, compiled and edited by center director Robert L. Berry of Omaha, has been expanded to include over forty additional trails, cutoffs, or alternates along with important related sites and landmarks. Order folded maps for $8.50 each, plus $3.00 shipping and handling, from the Nebraska State Historical Society Museum Store, P.O. Box 82554, Lincoln, NE 68501-2554. For more information contact the Museum Store at 1-800-833-6747. A framed copy of the map, donated by Robert L. and Mary Jane Berry, is located in the reference room of the Nebraska State Historical Society Library/Archives.


Papers and session topics are invited on the theme of "Politics and Values on the Plains" for the annual Dakota Conference on History, Literature, Art, and Archaeology, sponsored by the Center for Western Studies of Augustana College, Sioux Falls, SD. The conference will be held May 24-25, 2001, in Sioux Falls. Deadline for submission: January 31, 2001. Send paper and session proposals to conference director Dr. Harry F. Thompson, Box 727, Augustana College, Sioux Falls, SD 57197 (or send e-mail to hthomps@inst.augie.edu).

Proposals for individual papers or panels in all areas of history are welcome for the annual Missouri Valley History Conference. This year conference organizers are especially interested in proposals relating to public history. Proposals, consisting of a cover letter, abstract(s), and vita(e), should be sent by November 30, 2000, to the Department of History, University of Nebraska at Omaha, Omaha, NE 68182. Inquiries may be made by e-mail to swood@unomail.unomaha.edu; please do not e-mail proposals.

Double Discount for all Society Members
December 3-9 at all store locations

* * * 20 percent off all items * * *

Phone orders with Visa, MasterCard, Discover, Am. Exp.
Phone 1-800-833-6747
Visit our website store at www.nebraskahistory.org

New items include nature pattern blocks,
covered wagon kits, quilt kits, NSHS cap,
Nebraska Trivia game, books for all ages, old-time toys.


September 23 through December 31: The American Cowboy: Fact and Fantasy, Durham Western Heritage Museum, 801 South Tenth St., Omaha. Exhibition depicting popular notions of the cowboy created by entertainers, popular literature, movies, and TV. Museum open Tuesdays through Saturdays, 10-5, and Sundays, 1-5. Adults, $5 each; seniors, $4; children, ages three to twelve, $3.50. Admission is free to museum members and to children under age three. For more information contact Deb Schmadeke at 402-444-5071, ext. 571.

November 12: Sunday at the Museum Series, Chautauqua-style presentation on Dr. Charles A. Eastman, first Native American doctor, by Jerome Kills Small, 2 P.M., John G. Neihardt State Historic Site, Bancroft. NHC program. For information contact the Neihardt Site at 402-648-3388, or 1-888-777-4667.

November 16: Brown Bag Lecture, "General Victor Vifquain: Nebraska Pioneer, Statesman and Civil War Hero," by Jeffrey H. Smith, Ph.D., associate professor of history, Bellevue University, Bellevue. 12 noon, Museum of Nebraska History, Fifteenth and P Streets, Lincoln. Free and open to the public.

December 3: Sunday at the Museum Series, program of holiday, classical, and popular music in brass, woodwind, and string ensemble by students of Wayne State College, 2 P.M., John G. Neihardt State Historic Site, Bancroft. For information contact the Neihardt Site as above.

December 21: Brown Bag Lecture, "Christmas Traditions of the Germans from Russia," by Nancy Bernhardt Holland, Ph.D., executive director, American Historical Society of Germans from Russia, Lincoln. 12 noon, Museum of Nebraska History, Fifteenth and P Streets, Lincoln. Free and open to the public.

In observance of Veterans' Day, Society headquarters and the Gerald R. Ford Conservation Center in Omaha will be closed Friday, November 10, through Sunday, November 12. The Museum of Nebraska History and the Historic Sites (except Neihardt and Cather) will be closed November 10 and 11. Call for holiday hours at the Neihardt Site (402-648-3388) and Cather Site (402-746-2653).

In observance of Thanksgiving Society headquarters and the Ford Center will be closed Thursday, November 23, through Sunday, November 26. The Museum of Nebraska History will be closed November 23, and the Historic Sites (except Neihardt and Cather) will be closed November 23 and 24. For holiday hours at Neihardt and Cather, call as above.

In observance of the holidays Society headquarters and the Ford Center will be closed Saturday, December 23, through Monday, December 25; and Saturday, December 30, through Monday, January 1, 2001. The Museum of Nebraska History and the Historic Sites (except Neihardt and Cather) will be closed December 24-25 and December 31-January 1. For holiday hours at Neihardt and Cather, call as above.

September/October 2000 Issue

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